Substance Abuse at Early Age As a Potential Risk Factor for Driving under the Influence of Substance in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia: A Cross-Sectional Study

Worldwide, trauma is a major health problem, and road traffic accidents (RTAs) are the primary cause of death among young men in Saudi Arabia. The aim of the study was to estimate the extent of driving under the influence of an abused substance in Saudi Arabia and to explore the associated factors. This is a cross-sectional survey conducted between May and September 2016 at Al-Amal Hospital in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, a referral center for addiction. The authors included all patients who were admitted for additional education and rehabilitation and had no psychotic symptoms. The authors used a standardized and pretested questionnaire to collect data regarding sociodemographic and socioeconomic characteristics, history of and current substance abuse, driving under the influence of an abused substance, injuries, imprisonment, and fatalities under the influence of an abused substance. Whenever possible, the authors compared self-reported data with medical records and resolved any conflict by discussion with the patient. A total of 101 out of 112 invited patients participated in the study (90.2%). The mean age of the participants was 33.28 years (SD = 9.46 years). Of the total, 93.1% (n = 94) drove under the influence of an abused substance. Amphetamines and alcohol were the first substance abused (56.4% [n = 57] and 25.7% [n = 26] of patients, respectively). As currently abused substances, amphetamines and cannabis were reported in 38.6% (n = 39) and 24.8% (n = 25) of participants, respectively. The mean age at the time of the first substance abuse was 18.76 years (SD = 4.99 years). In the univariate regression (odds ratio [OR] = 0.86; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.75–0.99; P = .046) but not the multivariate regression (OR =0.87; 95% CI, 0.75–1.00; P = .056), a younger age at the time of the first substance abuse was associated with a higher probability of driving under the influence of an abused substance. The study showed that among individuals hospitalized due to substance abuse problems, driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol was common. Preventive measures to reduce driving under the influence should be introduced in addition to specialized hospitals. Further research is required to investigate the factors associated with driving under the influence of abused substances in Saudi Arabia.


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  • Accession Number: 01691130
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Dec 15 2018 3:01PM